The Answer Sheet: From Florida


Posted at 09:45 AM ET, 10/04/2013

Good student Laela Gray held back over 1 point on test

This story offers a perfect illustration of what "high stakes" standardized testing means.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:45 AM ET, 10/04/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:01 AM ET, 08/28/2013

The most ridiculous ed idea of the week (so far) -- update

It's about the Common Core State Standards.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:01 AM ET, 08/28/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 02/01/2011

Peace Corps' 2011 college rankings; D.C., Va. schools on top

The Peace Corps, in its 50th year, announces its 2011 college rankings. Tops in their categories: The George Washington University in Washington D.C., the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:08 AM ET, 02/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 01/31/2011

Legislation: Teachers should grade parents

In the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category, a Florida (of course) state legislator is pushing legislation that would require some elementary school teachers to grade parents on how involved they are at their children's schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 01/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Teaching without classroom teachers

Florida is the state that keeps on giving, at least to education writers. What it gives to its students is another question. One thing it isn’t giving to all of its students these days is classroom teachers.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:00 AM ET, 01/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 01/07/2011

What really helped Florida's test scores

Florida, which is increasingly being looked to as a school reform model did achieve considerable improvements in student achievement during the last decade. But it is important to see when, where and why the gains occurred. The real answer, it turns out, is not the one often given.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:02 PM ET, 01/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 12/28/2010

A hard look at education research

Here's a back-and-forth between authors of a report hailing Florida's school reform and a critique of that report. It shows how controversial education "research" really is.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:38 AM ET, 12/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:05 PM ET, 12/21/2010

A sobering look at Florida school reform

With Florida increasingly being looked to as a national model for school reform, here's a clear-eyed look at exactly what has been going on in the Sunshine State.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:05 PM ET, 12/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Where education reform is heading: From extreme to extremum

If you want to understand where public education reform is heading, look south and east to Florida, where the governor-elect, Rick Scott, is talking about a new funding student formula that is more likely to destroy the public school system than accomplish anything else.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 12/08/2010

Schools eligible for 2011 John Lennon Scholarship

The John Lennon Scholarship Program created by Yoko Ono is now accepting applicants from a certain group of schools. Here they are.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:40 AM ET, 12/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:02 PM ET, 12/03/2010

What is Michelle Rhee up to in Florida?

What is Michelle Rhee up to by taking an unpaid, advisory position on the education transition team of Florida Gov.-elect Rick Scott?

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:02 PM ET, 12/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 12/02/2010

Rhee joins Florida governor-elect's transition team

Florida's governor-elect, Rick Scott, has put former D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee on his education transition team.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:43 PM ET, 12/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/02/2010

Is progress in Florida schools exaggerated?

Florida’s public school system is frequently held up as an exemplary example of how specific school reforms -- vouchers, charter schools, on-line schooling, high-stakes standardized tests, etc. -- can improve student achievement. But things aren't always what they seem.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 11/15/2010

Are Rhee and Florida interested in each other?

The talk in education circles in Florida is that the governor elect, Rick Scott, may be looking for a new education commission and one name that seems dominant in the discussion is Michelle Rhee, who just resigned as Washington D.C. Schools chancellor.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 AM ET, 11/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/27/2010

7 Class size myths -- and the truth

Across the country, class sizes are increasing at unprecedented rates. Budget pressures are weighing on school districts, but there has also been a fierce attack on the value of class size reduction. Here are the most common myths about class size (No 1: It is an unproven, ineffective reform) along with the facts.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/21/2010

English teacher: Data can drive us down wrong road

An English teacher writes: "Strict adherence to data-driven instruction can lead schools to push aside science and social studies to drill students on isolated reading benchmarks.... It is difficult to teach kids to read well if they don’t learn to enjoy reading. It is impossible to teach kids to read well while denying them the knowledge they need to make sense of complex material. Following the data often forces teachers to do just that."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 09/14/2010

A state ranking scandal: Not So Smart, ALEC

Principal George Wood dissects a ranking system of states on school performance and reform that doesn't make sense.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:03 PM ET, 09/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/10/2010

Why we can't afford small classes anymore: One view

A veteran teacher says the country can no longer afford to maintain small classes, and would a bigger bang for its buck by concentrating on improving teacher quality.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 09/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 08/25/2010

'Impossible' working conditions for teachers

Will Fitzhugh writes about a recent trip to Florida, where he did a workshop with teachers on student research papers -- and then realized that the teachers can't use what they learned in the classroom.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 08/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 07/15/2010

Florida's FCAT scandal -- the next chapter

Let’s go to Florida for the latest entry in the category of “you can’t make up this stuff.” Here's the latest twist in the scandal over the state's 2010 standardized test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:02 AM ET, 07/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:02 PM ET, 07/13/2010

Florida standardized test results challenged

Six of Florida's largest counties formally protest the results of the state's 2010 standardized test.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:02 PM ET, 07/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 06/11/2010

Florida education chief ‘outraged’ at Pearson

Florida’s Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith has blasted NCS Pearson for a big delay in the reporting of the results of the 2010 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, saying that he is “outraged” and calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:12 AM ET, 06/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:15 PM ET, 06/07/2010

Standardized testing follies in Florida

A major testing company is having myriad problems scoring the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests, just one more reason that standardized tests should not be used for high-stakes decisions.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:15 PM ET, 06/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 06/04/2010

Florida’s Race to Top application: Not what it seems

No sooner had the deadline passed for the second round of applications from participating states in the Obama administration’s $4 billion Race to the Top contest than we learn that at least one bid isn’t quite what it seems.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 06/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:02 PM ET, 05/09/2010

Charter schools: Is this the way it was supposed to work?

With Education Secretary Arne Duncan promoting the expansion of publicly funded charter schools as if they had been proven to be the silver bullet for school reform (they haven’t), it seems reasonable to look at what can happen when schools are opened without enough regulation.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:02 PM ET, 05/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 04/23/2010

Even more education trouble in Florida

The Florida Legislature doesn't give up trying to drastically change the public education system: Now it is considering legislation that, if ultimately approved by lawmakers and then the voters in a referendum, would allow direct public funding of religious schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:30 PM ET, 04/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:50 PM ET, 04/15/2010

Crist vetoes bad bill, Florida teachers win

Teachers in Florida can breathe a temporary sigh of relief now that Gov. Charlie Crist has announced that he intends to veto legislation that teachers said would have devastated their profession and harmed public education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:50 PM ET, 04/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 04/14/2010

Teasing teachers in Florida

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has become a big tease, but it’s hard to know if he is teasing teachers or his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature. Crist has until Friday to decide what to do about legislation sent to him that would, among other thing, end teacher tenure in Florida, link teacher pay to student test scores, eliminate experience and advanced degrees as a factor in teacher evaluation, create a slew of new standardized tests for kids to take. If he listens to one person on what to do, it should be the superintendent of Manatee County schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:19 PM ET, 04/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/12/2010

The governor and the teachers

Florida educators stage protests to urge Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill they say will harm public schools. At one demonstration, Crist comes to the aid of a protester.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2010

Diane Ravitch’s letter to Florida lawmakers

Here is a letter that education historian Diane Ravitch wrote to Florida lawmakers putting into historical context some of the controversial issues in legislation now on the desk of Gov. Charlie Crist that would change public education in the state. She explains why she thinks that public education would be harmed if the legislation becomes law.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 04/09/2010

Florida ed reform passes: Is it a model or disaster?

The Florida House early today passed a bill that ends job security for teachers and links teacher pay to student test scores, and the legislation is now in the hands of Gov. Charlie Crist (R). Will he agree with supporters that it is a model for the nation, or with opponents, who say it is extreme, badly crafted and harmful to public education?

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:42 AM ET, 04/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 04/06/2010

More for Florida educators to be angry about

Florida's teachers are already outraged about legislation expected to become law that would end tenure, require the creation of more standardized tests and link teacher pay to test scores. Now there's a bill that would allow corporations contribute money to a fund that provides school vouchers and then deduct it from their taxes.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:37 PM ET, 04/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:54 PM ET, 04/02/2010

Florida school reform: Worse than you thought

Look at the way the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature handles important issues and it becomes easier to understand the lack of serious thought that has gone into its dangerous school reform plans.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:54 PM ET, 04/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 PM ET, 03/31/2010

Teachers fighting back in Florida

Even if you don’t live in Florida, you should pay attention to what is going on there. State lawmakers seem intent on passing legislation that opponents see as the sharpest attack on teachers in the country, and teachers and their supporters are fighting back. This could all spread beyond the borders of the Sunshine State.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 PM ET, 03/31/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/30/2010

Florida's terrible teachers bill a test for Duncan

The state of Florida could prove to be a big test for Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Legislators in the Sunshine State are moving with all due speed to pass legislation that would go a long way to making sure no...

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 03/26/2010

Duncan silent on Florida’s education mess

Despite a growing chorus of opposition from teachers, students and even school superintendents, the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature is intent on passing a bill that would make eliminate teacher tenure, link teacher pay to student standardized test scores, and add a heap more tests on already test-plagued students. Education Secretary Arne Duncan doesn't have a word to say about it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:39 AM ET, 03/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:04 PM ET, 03/24/2010

Florida Senate approves disastrous teachers bill

On Wednesday, the Florida Senate passed a bill that would end job security for teachers in the state and require school districts to evaluate and pay them primarily on the basis of student test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:04 PM ET, 03/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 03/24/2010

Disaster for Florida teachers: Senate Bill 6

A bill in the Florida Senate would go a long way to destroying the teaching profession in the state: It would eliminate job security, and link most of a teacher's pay to how well students perform on standardized tests. The bill takes to extremes the notion, supported by President Obama, of linking teacher evaluation to test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 03/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)